Arsenic, Tremors and the Tonic of Writing…

“I have learned, on my journeys, that if I let a day go by without writing, I grow uneasy. Two days and I am in tremor. Three and I suspect lunacy.  Four and I might as well be a hog, suffering the flux in a wallow. An hour’s writing is a tonic. …Taking your pinch of arsenic every morn so you can survive to sunset. Another pinch at sunset so that you can more than survive until dawn. The micro-arsenic-dose swallowed here prepares you not to be poisoned and destroyed up ahead.”

—-Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing/Essays on Creativity

Most of come to writing seeking some kind of healing. Either consciously or unconsciously we have been hurt and experienced bodily pain, or injury to the soul. We are broken, or at least some part of us is. But we are not a victim.

Writing knows no victims, only those who seek healing from the sheer force of will and strength expressed and felt when and in our writing.

Writing takes voice, that from within and the one that arises from the song of our words.

Many writers, like myself, have at one time or another lost our voice. Not that we did not speak, or perhaps we did. But we lost connection with truth, that inner knowing and countenance that guided and nudged us to our writing.

Suddenly and intermittently when faced with the blank page we grow numb, silent. We shudder at the thought of speaking our mind which is really our heart.

Heart and soul.

That is what writing is about.

Tapping into that unknown resource we were often, but sadly, taught to disdain, to hate and loathe, and ignore if not tamed.

Writing brings us back to all of that, whether our words be for human consumption by others or simply to fill our own bellies empty of love and care, acceptance and peace.

Why do you write?

On what do you yearn to satiate your emptiness, the hollowness that the winds of life have carved out in their blowing and twisting through and about you?

For me it is love, open arms, mine that might pat me on the back and whisper, “Well done for sticking it out.”

Life is terrible. It is also beautiful.

Taking in the ugliness, running it through the mill of our soul teaches us patience, gratitude, mercy, forgiveness and understanding. But the greatest of these is compassion, that for others, but mostly for ourselves.

In holding ourselves with dignity and gentleness, our hands grow bigger and able to caress others and direct them to their road of peace.

Writing the songs and lamentations of our hearts, the litanies of anguish and ache, penance and that for which we give thanks soothes our soul, gives us hope, tells us it will be, it is, we are just fine as we are.

The tonic of our words are not simply a balm in Gilead. They are the Golgotha through where we tread and the cup that overfloweth bringing us the house of our inner knowing and the love we hold for ourselves.

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